ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – New Mexico State Police believe a woman high on meth is to blame for a fatal crash on I-40 near 98th that killed another woman on Wednesday morning.
It happened just before 8 a.m. when police say Cynthia Silva was headed east on I-40. She told police she was coming back from a night at the casino when she rear-ended another car.
The car she crashed into was being driven by 53-year-old Shirley Van-Why, which had come to a standstill on the Interstate because of another accident further down the road.
Van-Why was killed at the scene.
The owner of Napoli Coffee on Menaul says Van-Why was a regular customer who she had befriended over the past several years. She came into the cafe as recently as Monday for her go-to caffeine drink.
“Shirley was one of those customers that she’d walk in the door and she always had a huge smile on her face,” Elizabeth Robertson, the cafe owner, said.
Robertson was heartbroken and angered at what happened.
KRQE News 13 also spoke briefly with Van-Why’s brother-in-law Thursday morning by phone, who called her death “senseless.”
Three other people were in Silva’s car, as well. One of them was taken to a hospital in critical condition and had to have fragments of her skull and face bones removed.
Police say when they took Silva in for questioning, she went between speaking erratically and being very calm. Meth was found in her jacket pocket. She’s been charged with DWI and homicide by vehicle and tampering with evidence, among other things.
Police also say when they asked Silva for her phone, she refused to give it to them and threw it on the ground, smashing it.
Silva appeared before a judge Thursday afternoon.
“There’s 23 bench warrants, 16 failure to appears, that’s concerning to me as well as out of county warrants,” the judge said. She set Silva’s bond at $150,000 cash or surety.
According to court records, Silva has a history of running red lights, driving on a suspended license, not paying fines and not appearing in court.